Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Confronting Threat of Hate, Terror in Our Midst

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Confronting Threat of Hate, Terror in Our Midst

Article excerpt

Terrorism has become a frightful presence in everyday life. We have known this since at least 9/11. What we have continued to learn since, however, is that terrorist groups or individuals can take many forms and identities, can launch from different locales, and can represent varied ideologies.

This is the tip of the iceberg we learn from the release this week of a study titled "The 2018 Terror Threat Assessment," compiled by The New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.

While it's unsurprising that extremists inspired by foreign organizations including the Islamic State group remain the top risk, other groups, including those with origins on U.S. soil, represent a growing threat. The state's terrorism report is sobering in its findings that determined a "dramatic rise" in domestic terror threats from white supremacists, anti-government groups, anarchists and other domestic extremists that present a new and emerging challenge to law enforcement and intelligence agencies that seek to prevent such attacks.

"In the year ahead, homegrown violent extremists will remain our most persistent adversary," said Jared Maples, director of the state office that released the annual report. "Couple this with the dramatic rise in violence between race-based, single-issue, and anti-government extremists and it is clear that our threat landscape has become more diverse than ever before," he added.

Based on the report, the terror threat continues to grow more ominous and unpredictable. What is troubling, in particular, is that so many different groups are turning violent and embracing openly bigoted and racist ideologies.

In April, law enforcement busted a crime ring in Phillipsburg run by members of the Aryan Strikeforce that had been selling drugs and guns to fund its activities. The group has a history of race-based violence and a stated goal to protect "the future of our race and nation. …

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