How much homegrown terrorism is there? week we’re talking about U.S. Rep. Peter King’s claims that some American Muslims pose a unique threat to our safety. Today, let’s look at the data.

How diverse is terrorism?

There’s a wide range! No group has a monopoly on homegrown terrorism, as I pointed out earlier this week. Domestic terrorist organizations cover the map, and have included the Animal Liberation Front, Army of God, Aryan Nations, Ku Klux Klan, Jewish Defense League, Alpha 66 (Cuban exiles), and many more. (Click here for a listing of 29 terrorist groups and notable acts of domestic terrorism.)

Is there a trend in domestic terrorism involving Muslim Americans?

King says he sees a growing threat. However, research doesn’t support that claim. Since “9/11”—161 Muslim Americans have been suspects or perpetrators, according to a new report by The Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security. This Center is a consortium between Duke University, the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and RTI International. There is no clear trend. There were 24 suspects or perpetrators in 2003, but only 2 in 2008. The spike occurred in 2009, with 47—a large number due primarily to a group of Somali-Americans. But the figure dropped to 20 in 2010, the report says.

Who accounts for more plots—Muslim Americans or other Americans?

Data on post-9/11 terrorism in the United States, compiled by the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPPC), shows that the majority of terrorist plots in the U.S. are not perpetrated by Muslims. Using data from the Congressional Research Service, the Heritage Foundation, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, they count 80 plots of domestic terrorism by non-Muslims. Violent extremism appears to be on the rise, but this trend occurs across ideologies and includes many different domestic groups. The Council concludes that Al Qaeda “does not appear to be making new ideological gains into the Muslim American community. Instead, the data is pointing toward greater numbers of longstanding ideological extremists turning to violence.”

How do you read these data?

Does this information make you less or more worried?

Are you more or less supportive of King’s hearings?

Please, Comment below.

(Originally published at, an online experiment in civil dialogue on American values.)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email