Right-Wing Extremists Seen Presenting Threat

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), June 11, 2009 | Go to article overview

Right-Wing Extremists Seen Presenting Threat


Byline: Ben Conery, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Even before Wednesday's fatal shooting of a security guard purportedly by a white supremacist at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, right-wing extremists have come under increased scrutiny.

In April, the Department of Homeland Security came under fire for a report that warned of disgruntled war veterans getting involved with radical right-wing groups, and in 2006, the Anti-Defamation League reported an increase in racist skinhead groups. Earlier this year, the Southern Poverty Law Center indicated a 54 percent increase in so-called hate groups from 2000 to 2008.

The opinions of several experts contacted by The Washington Times on Wednesday differed when it came to questions about whether membership in such groups are increasing. But all agreed they present a serious threat.

I am more concerned with the threat from the Christian-identity groups than the homegrown Islamic terrorists, said Maria Haberfeld, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. It's a disaster waiting to happen. The fact that this guy did what he did may be symptomatic of things to come.

Ms. Haberfeld, who teaches a counterterrorism class for New York police officers, said she worries that local law enforcement agencies do not keep close enough tabs on such groups and that the Internet allows them to put forth an extreme rhetoric that advocates violence.

Carol Swain, a law professor at Vanderbilt University and the author of The New White Nationalism in America, said that such writings on the Internet can help inspire a so-called lone wolf, who is not formally involved with any group, to carry out violent acts.

She said there are conditions in the nation that can lead to an increase in white supremacists, including decreasing white population, increased immigration, fear of minority crime and loss of jobs. …

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