To be clear, I was referring to domestic terrorist attacks. By that logic, do you think right wingers should be screened in the U.S? I know you'll say no.
Also, this is important:
In the end, we found evidence that generally supports the first part of de León’s claim -- that radical right wing terrorism is on the rise. Still, there’s a lack of agreement among experts and even within the U.S. government over how to define terrorism. As a result, some studies show political violence is on the rise among far right wing groups, but do not explicitly call all of these crimes terrorist attacks.
The second part of de León’s statement, comparing terror attacks by ideology, is also complicated. What’s clear is that far right groups have been tied to more terror incidents, often to deadly attacks or property damage. Meanwhile, Islamic jihadist inspired groups, while responsible for fewer terror attacks, have killed far more people on U.S. soil in recent decades.
The report Booker cited found that from 12 September 2001 to the end of 2016, there were 85 deadly attacks in the US by violent extremists, resulting in a total of 225 deaths.
Of those deaths, 106 people were killed by far-right extremists, in 62 separate attacks, while 119 people were killed by Islamist extremists, in 23 separate incidents.
So while the majority (73%) of the attacks were carried out by far-right extremists, more people were killed by Islamist terrorists.
However, as Politifact’s Amy Sherman points out, Booker used the term “white nationalists”, which is “not exactly the same thing” as far-right extremist groups.
The latter “are motivated by ideologies seeking an idealised future favouring a particular group”, says Sherman. “They include white supremacists and anti-government militias, among others.”
According to the GAO report, almost half the 85 attacks were committed by white supremacists.
But that “number could rise if we counted additional perpetrators who sympathised with white supremacist ideals but were not labelled as white supremacists by the GAO”, Sherman says.
Booker’s spokesperson explained the discrepancy in figures by arguing that although the report did not identify some of the perpetrators as white supremacists, other sources such as news accounts or court records showed they held white supremacist or racist views.
A deadly difference
Separate research carried out by the University of Maryland’sNational Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism reveals a slightly different picture.
It found that, during the same period as that cited by Booker, Islamist extremists carried out 31 attacks, leading to 119 deaths, while far-right extremists were responsible for killing 158 people, in 89 separate attacks.
So while both sources agree that far-right extremist attacks are far more common, they differ on the total number of deaths they have caused.
Whether Muslim or far-right extremists have killed more Americans “depends on how you measure such incidents and which source you use”, says Politico. “Sorting through attacks and placing them in the categories of terrorism, violent extremism or hate crimes can sometimes be extremely complicated.”
Who is right?
The evidence suggests that far-right groups are responsible for a higher number of attacks than Islamists extremists, but not necessarily more deaths.
It was misleading of Senator Booker to imply that white nationalist groups were behind the majority of attacks, as the figures he cited applied to far-right extremists as a whole.