White supremacists were behind more than half of the 34 extremist-linked fatalities last year, outpacing all other domestic terror groups, according to recent data from the Anti-Defamation League.
Far-right extremists claimed the lives of 18 people in 2017, the data showed, reverting back to a long-term trend where right-wing violence accounted for the largest share of domestic terror-related killings from 1995 until 2016, The Atlantic reported. The ADL’s latest report seemingly draws the connection between far/alt-right hate speech and the egregious acts of violence carried out by some of its followers.
“These findings are a stark reminder that domestic extremism is a serious threat to our safety and security, ” Jonathan A. Greenblatt, CEO of the ADL, said in a statement. “We saw two car-ramming attacks in the U.S. last year — one from an Islamic terrorist and another from a white supremacist in Charlottesville, [Va.] — and the number of deaths attributed to white supremacists increased substantially. The bottom line is we cannot ignore one form of extremism over another. We must tackle them all.”
The most recent ADL data showed that more than 70 percent of all extremist related murders over the last decade have been committed by domestic right-wing extremists. while just 26 percent of the killings were carried out by Islamic extremists. The other 3 percent of the deaths were attributed to extremists who didn’t fall into either category.
Last year alone, extremist-related fatalities in the U.S. surged to 59 percent, a significant increase from 20 percent in 2016. The report noted a spate of Black extremist violence that was also cause for concern, as Black nationalists were behind five murders in 2017.
In an effort to combat the rising threat of extremist violence in the U.S., the ADL recommended that all federal and state officials support programs aimed at countering acts of violent extremism, that civic leaders use their platforms to speak out against racism and that law enforcement agencies track and report all hate crime data to the FBI.
“When white supremacists and other extremists are emboldened and find new audiences for their hate-filled views, violence is usually not far behind,” Greenblatt added. “We can’t ignore the fact that white supremacists are emboldened, and as a society we need to keep a close watch on recruitment and rallies such as Charlottesville, which have the greatest potential to provoke and inspire violence.”