DEBUNKED: The Leftist Nation Institute Report on Terrorism

Radical leftists like Linda Sarsour and the Huffington Post are calling attention to the recent “study” conducted by the leftist organization The Investigative Fund at Nation Institute, which purports to show that despite Trump’s “fixation on demonizing Islam,” the real domestic terrorist threat comes from “the Right Wing.”

However, if Sarsour and her minions had actually analysed the study’s source data, they would not have been so eager to tout the study,. Upon investigation of the source data it becomes clear that The Nation Institute skewed their analysis to fit their predetermined narrative by incorrectly labeling cases as terrorism, falsely labeling perpetrators as “Right Wing”, and counting acts of vandalism the same as acts of mass murder.

What the data actually shows is that, uniquely, Islamist terrorism is almost exclusively intended to cause mass, primarily civilian casualties, which is why despite Muslims being only 1% of the U.S. population, Islamists are responsible for the majority of domestic terrorism cases intended to cause mass civilian casualties, as well as the greatest number of actual U.S. terrorism deaths. From this data it is clear that despite what the Nation Institute claims, the focus on the Islamist terrorist threat is very well placed.

It is little wonder then that The Nation Institute did not make their data available for download as more reputable sources do, but we were able to reconstruct the source data by extracting it from the interactive graphics in the article.

Specifically, we found that:

  1. The study claims that from 2008-2016, there were twice as many cases of Right Wing domestic terrorism as cases of Islamist terrorism. However, they only arrive at this figure by labeling as “Right Wing Terror” a number of cases that (while horrible) are either not terrorism or not Right Wing. Some examples of cases that the study falsely labels as “Right Wing Terror” include:
    • Elliot Rodger, who kills six UCSB students to “punish women for rejecting him”
    • Craig Stephen Hicks,  who kills three people in what police say was a parking dispute
    • Bruce and Joshua Turnidge, who planted a bomb while robbing a bank which kills two police officers.
    • Gavin Eugene Long, a  black nationalist   who goes on a shooting rampage which kills three police officers because he was angry over the shooting of a black man by Baton Rouge police two weeks earlier,
    • Numerous instances of armed stand-offs with police which resulted in fatalities
  2. You don’t have to take our word for it on the mislabeling of cases as “Right Wing Terror.”The New America Institute, a less biased organization, examined cases of terrorism resulting in fatalities during the same time period and attributed 50% fewer cases with fatalities to “Right Wing Terrorism” than the Nation Institute does, which is also why the New America Institute attributed 26 fewer deaths to “Right Wing Terror” than the Nation Institute does.
  3. The Nation Institute analysis weights cases of arson and vandalism as equal to cases of mass murder in their tally of terrorism cases. This is highly misleading when used to support the premise that Right Wing Terrorism is a greater threat than Islamist terrorism, since while the study counts 17 cases of arson and vandalism as Right Wing terrorism, it counts no such instances of Islamist terrorism (because Islamist terrorists target people). While technically true that arson can be considered terrorism, it is disingenuous to equate setting fire to an empty Mosque to setting off a car bomb in a crowded town square. 
  4. In reality, the fear of terrorism and the vast sums spent on its prevention are driven by the desire to stop the mass slaughter of civilians. When we consider acts of terrorism designed to cause multiple civilian casualties, the study’s own source data shows that Islamists are responsible for more such cases than all other sources combined, which is why even the Nation Institute analysis admits that Islamists are responsible for the most terrorism fatalities, as well as double the amount of fatalities per case as compared to Right Wing Terrorism cases.
  5. Bizarrely, the Nation Institute analysis bemoans the fact that Islamist terrorism suspects are disproportionately targeted with sting operations, but then proceeds to use these instances in a stat which purports to demonstrate that Right Wing terrorism is more often deadly.figure5It scarcely needs to be pointed out that  comparing the lethality of a list comprised largely of foiled Islamist plots to a list of actual Right Wing terrorist acts is an invalid comparison. However, when you compare only instances when the act of terrorism was carried out, even if we include all of the cases that the Nation Institute falsely labels as Right Wing, this data still shows that Islamist terrorism cases are more often deadly (53%), and Right Wing Cases (44%). When we remove these mislabeled cases the percentage of Right Wing terrorism cases which are deadly drops to 28%.
  6. According to the study data, in 87% of Islamist terrorism cases  the intent was to cause multiple fatalities, while in 48% of Right Wing cases this was the intent, dropping to 45% when the cases mislabled as “Right Wing” are removed.

In summary, what the data actually shows is that, uniquely, Islamist terrorism is almost exclusively intended to cause mass, primarily civilian casualties, which is why despite Muslims being only 1% of the U.S. population, Islamists are responsible for the majority of domestic terrorism cases intended to cause mass civilian casualties, as well as the greatest number of actual U.S. terrorism deaths. From this data it is clear that despite what the Nation Institute claims, the focus on the Islamist terrorist threat is very well placed.




MISLEADING: Non-Muslims are Responsible for Most Terrorist Attacks in America

Image result for san bernardino attack

The Claim: Non-Muslims carried out more than 90% of all terrorist attacks in America


The Claim: Most Terrorists in the U.S. are right wing, not Muslim.

Examples: (Here)(Here)(Here)(Here)

The Rebuttal:

You may hear it claimed that non-Muslims are responsible for most terrorist attacks on US soil, citing the FBI Terrorism Report 1980-2005. More recently, you may also hear the claim framed specifically as “most terrorists in the U.S. are right wing, not Muslim.”, citing a joint project by the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute, a nonprofit media center, and Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting. The premise behind these claims is that far too much emphasis is placed on Islamic terrorism, when in reality non-Muslim terrorism is a greater threat.

The flaw in these claims is that they include attacks against property as well as people – so a vandalism attack by the Animal Liberation Front counts the same as September 11th World Trade Center Bombing that killed 2,996 people. In fact, of the 293 attacks listed in the FBI study, only 34 resulted in an injury and  26 resulting in a death.

Arguments based on data that include all terrorist attacks regardless of whether bodily harm resulted, or was even intended, are quite disingenuous when used to demonstrate that concern over Islamist terrorism is misplaced because they equate an act of vandalism with an act of mass murder.

Clearly, we are talking about attacks on civilians intended to cause mass casualties, and the organizations which plan, assist, encourage and execute such attacks. In addition to the immediate death toll, these attacks strike at the heart of an open society by targeting places where we gather together, interact and travel. The feelings of horror, fear and powerlessness that these attacks engender are attacks on the trust and freedom that make open societies possible.  The Department of Homeland security does not have a $40 billion budget to prevent EarthFirst from setting SUVs on fire at a car dealership.

While it is fine and well in the aftermath of a terrorist attack of this sort to encourage our fellow citizens to carry on and not to give in to fear, these entrees only go so far when a society repeatedly sees the shattered bodies of its children strewn across the evening news. Ultimately we have to stops these deadly attacks from happening.

In 2017, stopping these deadly attacks means stopping Islamic supremacists. There is no non-Islamic equivalent to Al Qaeda or ISIS. There is no non-Islamic global organization seeking to achieve its goals through the mass slaughter of civilians in America and Western Europe.

The bottom line is that Muslims, despite being 1% of the US population and the focus of enormous counter-terrorism resources, still manage to be the largest source of domestic terrorism deaths. Just imagine what these stats would look like if Muslims were 5% of the population and we reduced focus on this threat as these studies suggest.



DEBUNKED: Right Wing Terrorists Kill More Americans than Jihadists

Image result for terrorist attack

The Claim:

“Right-Wing extremists are a bigger threat to America than jihadists. Since 2002, right-wing militants have killed more people in the United states than jihadist have.”

Examples:  (Here)(here)(here)

The Rebuttal:

  • First: this claim is now factually incorrect and based on outdated data. The evidence usually cited is a  New America Foundation study, but the most frequently referenced articles sourcing this study are from June 2015, which was before Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife murdered 14 people in San Bernardino, and Omar Mateen killed 49 in an Orlando Night Club. The current New America Foundation figures have been updated to show 95 Americans killed by jihadists since 2002, nearly twice as many as the 53 killings the foundation attributes to the “far right wing.”
  • Second: the period from 2002 to 2015 is cherry-picked. It conveniently begins after 2,996 people were murdered on 9/11, and, sadly, covers a time period which seems to have been a lull in jihadi terrorism on US soil between when the U.S. global war on terror began degrading Al Qaeda and the occupation of Iraq provided more tempting targets in the middle east, and before ISIS began intensive online recruitment of lone wolf attackers.
  • Third: “right wing extremists” is not a useful categorization except to score political points, as in this case “right wing extremists” includes white supremacists, anti-federalists and anti-abortion christian fundamentalists, groups that have almost nothing in common ideologically and in many cases are hostile to each other. This is not an apples to apples comparison. This is an apples to fruit bowl comparison. The only purpose in lumping such groups together is an attempt to create the appearance of a terrorist threat more deadly than that of Islamist, although due to the recent ISIS-inspired attacks, even this fails.
  • Finally:  any comparison of the propensity of different demographics  to commit acts of murderous terror must account for the different population numbers by reporting on on a per-capita basis. Since Muslims make up about 1% of the US population, this HIGHLY disproportionate amount of terrorist slaughter caused by Muslims  is especially damning.

For Further Study:

Aren’t only a small number of the world’s Muslims extremists? (Actually, NO)



When 49% of Nigerian Muslims hold positive views of Al Qaeda, 59% of Egyptians say adulterers should be stoned to death, and in Pakistan 72% percent couldn’t bring themselves to express an unfavorable view of ISIS, it is very hard to say that only a small number of Muslims are extremists.

Studies show that 10% to 15% of the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide support militant Islam. That is 180 -270 million people, more than the combined populations of France, Germany, and UK, who could be recruited and drawn into Islam-motivated violence.(1)(2)

Between Boko Haram, the Al-Nusra front, ISIS, Hezbollah, Hamas, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Yemeni militias, Libyan militias, and many others, the number of active jihadists numbers in the hundreds of thousands; some estimates indicate that 100,000 are fighting in Syria alone.(3)

It is simply false to declare that jihadists represent the “tiny few extremists” who sully the reputation of an otherwise peace-loving and tolerant Muslim faith. In reality, the truth is far more troubling — that jihadists represent the natural and inevitable outgrowth of a faith that is given over to hate on a massive scale, with hundreds of millions of believers holding views that Americans would rightly find revolting.

To understand the Muslim edifice of hate, imagine it as a pyramid — with broadly-shared bigotry at the bottom, followed by stair steps of escalating radicalism — culminating in jihadist armies that in some instances represent a greater share of their respective populations than does the active-duty military in the United States.

DAVID FRENCH, “Dispelling the ‘Few Extremists’ Myth – the Muslim World Is Overcome with Hate”, National Review, December 7, 2015


Extensive polling by a wide variety of organizations has consistently shown a large number of extremists among Muslims. Among the most recent and comprehensive is the Pew Research Center’s 2013 survey report, “The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society“:(4)

Sharia Law

  • In countries across South Asia, Southeast Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East-North Africa region most favor making sharia their country’s official legal code.
  • In South Asia, high percentages in all the countries surveyed support making sharia the official law, including nearly universal support among Muslims in Afghanistan (99%). More than eight-in-ten Muslims in Pakistan (84%) and Bangladesh (82%) also hold this view. The percentage of Muslims who say they favor making Islamic law the official law in their country is nearly as high across the Southeast Asian countries surveyed (86% in Malaysia, 77% in Thailand and 72% in Indonesia).
  • In sub-Saharan Africa, at least half of Muslims in most countries surveyed say they favor making sharia the official law of the land, including more than seven-in-ten in Niger (86%), Djibouti (82%), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (74%) and Nigeria (71%).
  • Support for sharia as the official law of the land also is widespread among Muslims in the Middle East-North Africa region – especially in Iraq (91%) and the Palestinian territories (89%). Only in Lebanon does opinion lean in the opposite direction: 29% of Lebanese Muslims favor making sharia the law of the land, while 66% oppose it.

Among those Muslims who support making sharia the official law in their country, a large percentage support the most severe version of sharia:

Whipping, amputation

  • Among those who want sharia to be the law of the land, in 10 of 20 countries where there are adequate samples for analysis at least half say they support penalties such as whippings or cutting off the hands of thieves and robbers.
  • In South Asia, Pakistani and Afghan Muslims clearly support hudud punishments. In both countries, more than eight-in-ten Muslims who favor making sharia the official law of the land also back these types of penalties for theft and robbery (88% in Pakistan and 81% in Afghanistan). By contrast, only half of Bangladeshis who favor sharia as the law of the land share this view.
  • In the Middle East and North Africa, many Muslims who support making sharia the official law also favor punishments like cutting off the hands of thieves. This includes at least seven-in-ten in the Palestinian territories (76%) and Egypt (70%), and at least half in Jordan (57%), Iraq (56%) and Lebanon (50%). Only in Tunisia do fewer than half (44%) of those who want Islamic law as the law of the land also back these types of criminal penalties.
  • In Southeast Asia, about two-thirds (66%) of Malaysian Muslims who want sharia as the law of the land also favor punishments like cutting off the hands of thieves or robbers, but fewer than half say the same in Thailand (46%) and Indonesia (45%).

Stoning Adulterers

  • In 10 of 20 countries where there are adequate samples for analysis, at least half of Muslims who favor making sharia the law of the land also favor stoning unfaithful spouses.
  •  In Pakistan (89%) and Afghanistan (85%), more than eight-in-ten Muslims who want Islamic law as their country’s official law say adulterers should be stoned, while nearly as many say the same in the Palestinian territories (84%) and Egypt (81%). A majority also support stoning as a penalty for the unfaithful in Jordan (67%) and Iraq (58%).
  • In Southeast Asia, six-in-ten Muslims in Malaysia consider stoning an appropriate penalty for adultery. About half hold this view in Thailand (51%) and Indonesia (48%).
  • In Tajikistan about half (51%) support this form of punishment.

Death Penalty for Apostasy

  • 88% of Muslims in Egypt and 62% of Muslims in Pakistan favor the death penalty for people who leave the Muslim religion (apostasy). This is also the majority view among Muslims in Malaysia, Jordan and the Palestinian territories.
  •  In six of the 20 countries where there are adequate samples for analysis, at least half of those who favor making Islamic law the official law also support executing apostates. Taking the life of those who abandon Islam is most widely supported in Egypt (86%) and Jordan (82%). Roughly two-thirds who want sharia to be the law of the land also back this penalty in the Palestinian territories (66%).
  • In the South Asian countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan, strong majorities of those who favor making Islamic law the official law of the land also approve of executing apostates (79% and 76%, respectively). A majority of Malaysian Muslims (62%) who want to see sharia as their country’s official law also support taking the lives of those who convert to other faiths.

Honor Killing

  • The survey asked Muslims whether honor killings are ever justified as punishment for pre- or extra-marital sex. In 9 of the 23 countries where the question was asked, less than half say honor killings are never justified when a woman stands accused. Similarly, less than half in 8 of 23 countries say honor killings of accused men are never justified.
  • In Afghanistan (60%) and Iraq (60%) –  majorities say honor killings of women are often or sometimes justified, while in Afghanistan a majority (59%) say the same about executing men who have allegedly engaged in pre- or extra-marital sex.
  • Muslims in South Asia are less likely to say honor killings of both women and men are never justified. In Pakistan, 45% of Muslims say executing accused women is never justified, and 48% say the same about accused men. In Bangladesh, fewer than four-in-ten Muslims reject honor killings for women (34%) and men (38%), while in Afghanistan only a quarter say executing a woman (24%) or a man (24%) is never justified.
  • Few Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa reject honor killings of accused women: Jordan (34%), Iraq (22%), Egypt (31%), Lebanon (45%), and Palestinian territories (44%).


  • At least half view polygamy as morally acceptable in 11 of the 37 countries where the question was asked. Acceptance is most widespread in sub-Saharan Africa; at least six-in-ten in Niger (87%), Senegal (86%), Mali (74%), Cameroon (67%), Tanzania (63%) and Nigeria (63%) describe polygamy as morally acceptable.
  • in 14 of 37 countries at least one-in-five say it is not a moral issue or it depends on the circumstances. These views are especially widespread in Thailand (66%), Jordan (52%), Egypt (51%), Afghanistan (44%), Malaysia (39%) and Tajikistan (38%).

Wearing the Veil

  • Fewer than half in Egypt (46%), Jordan (45%), Iraq (45%) and Afghanistan (30%) say say women should have the right to choose whether they wear a veil Sub-Saharan In Africa the only country in the region where a majority supports a woman’s right to decide is Senegal (58%); by contrast, fewer than a third support giving women this right in Nigeria (30%) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (29%).

The significant amount of Muslim extremism is also indicated by the number of Muslim majority countries with laws banning apostasy and blasphemy. In fact, the only remaining nations in the world with laws against apostasy are Muslim-majority:

  • According to the International Humanist and Ethical Union, a pressure group, Saudi Arabia is one of only 19 countries in the world that criminalizes apostasy, the turning away from one religion to another one, or to none; it is one of 12 countries where it is punishable by death. All but two of the latter group are in the Middle East and Africa. In practice, the death sentences are rarely carried out; more commonly, apostates are merely thrown in jail and tortured.(5)
  • Even countries with civil laws that do not expressly outlaw apostasy still find creative ways to crack down on religious deviation. In Oman, Kuwait and Jordan Islamic courts can annul the marriages of apostates or prevent them from inheriting property. In Pakistan couples who convert from Islam risk having their children taken away.(5)
  • Where laws against apostasy do not exist, blasphemy laws are often applied instead. In Egypt, a 21-year-old student, Karim Ashraf Muhammad al-Banna, was sentenced to three years in prison last year after he broadcast his atheism on Facebook.  Blasphemy laws were famously applied in Pakistan too, when, Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian, was sentenced to death in 2010 after a confrontation with a group of Muslim women in which she supposedly defamed the Prophet Muhammad. Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab, who defended Ms Bibi and railed against the blasphemy laws, was murdered by his own bodyguard in 2011.(5)
  • In Pakistan, blasphemy laws are enforced so strictly that in 2010 a doctor was arrested for tossing out the business card of a man who shared the name of Islam’s prophet, Muhammad.(17)

There are numerous radical Islamist movements which each have millions of adherents and related terrorist organizations:

  • Worlwide there are 63 million Hanbalis (Salafi purists), 9 million Wahabbis (Salafi activists) and 50 million Qutbis (Salafi Jihadis). Followers of these groups believe in strict adherence to the alleged ways of the Prophet, often applying medieval concepts to modern scenarios.(6) Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and ISIS are among the many Salafi terrorist organizations.(7)
    • The Hanbalis are classified as Purist Salafis who practice strict adherence to Salafi Ideology but do not enforce it.(6)
    • The Wahabbists on the other hand are considered to be active Salafis often using Salafi ideology as a political tool to implement Shariah (Quranic law) and in some cases enforcing it.(6)
    • The most extreme form of Salafi ideology are the followers of Qutbism who consider Salafi ideology as a basis for waging Jihad (Holy War) against all non- believers.(6)
  • There are 183 million Ja-fari Muslims worldwide – this is the fundamentalist interpretation of Shia Islam followed by the ayatollah’s of Iran,  for example.(6)
  • There are over 200 million Barlevis in southeast Asia alone (8) – a follower of this movement On 4 January 2011, the governor of Punjab, Salmaan Taseer, was assassinated by a member of a Barelvi group because Taseer had  called for leniency for a Christian mother sentenced to death under the Pakistani blasphemy ban. Over five hundred scholars of the Barelvi movement voiced support for the crime and urged a boycott of Taseer’s funeral.(9)(10)(11)(12)
  • The Taliban organization based on the Deobandi school of Islam. Militant Deobandis tend to occur in the Pakistani/Afghanistan region, with occasional spillovers in India and possibly Bangladesh.(13)

Support for Islamic terrorist organizations is remarkably high:

  • The latest polling data show that while a majority of Muslims reject ISIS, extrapolating from the populations of polled countries alone shows that roughly 50 million people express sympathy for a terrorist army that burns prisoners alive, throws gay men from buildings, and beheads political opponents. In Pakistan a horrifying 72 percent couldn’t bring themselves to express an unfavorable view of ISIS.(14)
  • In Jordan, 15% had a positive opinion of al Qaeda, while about one-in-five in Indonesia (22%) and Egypt (21%) shared this view. Palestinian Muslims offered somewhat more positive opinions (28% favorable), but about two-thirds (68%) viewed bin Laden’s organization unfavorably. Nigerian Muslims typically offer more positive views of al Qaeda than any other Muslim public surveyed – in this case 49%.(15)

  • After the killing of Osama Bin Laden, the  Gilani Foundation did a poll of Pakistanis and found that 51% of them grieved for the terrorist mastermind, with 44% of them stating that he was a martyr.(16)
  • Between 7% and 10% of the Islamic world does believe in suicide bombings, does support the Islamic State’s violence, does support al Qaeda. (2)



Further Reading: