FBI Warns Right-Wing Militias Are Targeting Mosques and Muslims

News & Politics

The transparency website Public Intelligence just obtained an FBI Intelligence Bulletin warning that groups of “militia extremists” (also known as home-grown terrorists) are likely to ramp up the targeting of mosques and other gathering places for Muslims.

According to the report, many of these extremists have conducted surveillance of “diverse locations including Alaska, Arizona, Indiana, Montana, New York, North and South Carolina, Utah, and Texas,” with some groups hoping to train their members for combat with the so-called Islamic State.  

These trends among “adherents of a militia ideology who seek validation of anti-government conspiracy theories,” as described by the FBI, often gain traction in the wake of acts of violence committed by Muslims, and are fueled by the inflammatory rhetoric of an established industry of hatemongerers.   

Consummate islamophobe of the far-right, Pamela Geller, is one such figure. In a purported defense of free speech, Geller recently called for more events like the “Draw Muhammad” contest she hosted in Garland, Texas in early May, which drew two gunmen who were ultimately killed by police. Such contests should occur every month because, "I will not abridge my freedoms so as not to offend savages,” said Geller, whose capacity for buffoonery appears bottomless.

But while Geller, who calls herself a “human rights activist,” may appear ludicrous to most, as a demagogue for those intent on terror she is a potent symbol. Many Muslims in Garland, used to threats of violence, kept their kids home from school following the attack on the contest, and local leaders reported receivindeath threats. Geller showed up on Fox News, declaring, "There’s an enemy among us.”

According to analysis by New America, white supremacists in the U.S. have killed almost twice as many people as so-called jihadists since September 11. Geller is right about a threat in our midst; it’s just not the one she fears.  

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