Head-to-head: More attention should be given to domestic terrorism
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Head-to-head: More attention should be given to domestic terrorism

Right-wing, domestic terrorists are a more pertinent, everyday threat to the United States than international Islamic terrorists.

Examples of right-wing, domestic terrorists are groups like militias, sovereign citizens or neo-Nazi’s who are anti-government.

It’s important to clarify that this doesn’t encompass all right-wing individuals, simply those who draw out right-wing ideologies to their furthest extremes and impose their beliefs through terror.

While most media attention focuses on Islamic terror attacks, a lot of police forces simply don’t think they’re as great of a threat as these right-wing terror groups.

According to a report from the Washington Post that cites the Police Executive Research Forum, of 382 law enforcement agencies, 74 percent reported anti-government extremism as one of the top three terrorist threats in their jurisdiction, 39 percent listed extremism connected with Al-Qaeda or like-minded terrorist organizations. Only three percent identified the threat from Muslim extremists as severe, compared with seven percent for anti-government and other forms of extremism.

I’m not trying to say Islamic terrorism isn’t a threat, groups like al-Nusra and ISIL are dangerous and need to be dealt with. It’s just that these groups pose a much greater threat to their surrounding countries than to the United States. As far as a day-to-day threat, anti-government extremists pose the greatest threat to American safety.

People often associate large, grandiose terror attacks with Islamic terrorism in the United States, but outside the horrible attacks on 9/11 that caused thousands of deaths, the deadliest attack by Islamic terrorists in the United States was the recent San Bernandino shooting, which resulted in 16 casualties.

As far as right-wing terror attacks in the U.S., the bombing in Oklahoma City caused the deaths of 168 individuals and between 1996 and 1998 there was a series of right-wing attacks that injured 111 people.

Islamic terrorism is a very serious threat, but Americans often think they’re disproportionately threatening because of xenophobic beliefs. Right-wing extremists are easy to ignore because they’re overwhelmingly white. Islamic extremists get so much attention, in part, because they’re not white.

This isn’t to say that people only hate Islamic terrorists because they’re Islamic. What I’m saying is that Islamic terrorism gets a disproportionate amount of society’s attention, in part, because they’re different.

Terrorism of any kind in unacceptable and must be condemned. Just because far right-wing terrorism doesn’t receive the media spotlight of Islamic terrorism doesn’t mean it isn’t a threat.