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.
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.