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Abdi Warsame’s False Claim on Extremist Violence

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Minneapolis City Council Abdi Warsame was dishonest in his Star Tribune op-ed yesterday that called for all community organizations to not cooperate with the Countering Violent Extremism program when he claimed that “more American’s have been killed by right-wing extremists than by those claiming to act in the name of Islam.”

He didn’t cite his source but it most likely came from a New America study of extremists from over a year ago that found that since 2002 right-wing murders were slightly ahead of Islamists murders 48-45.  What is especially dishonest is that he didn’t include the Orlando attack on a gay bar this summer that killed 50 people, the largest terrorist attack in the U.S. since 9/11.  Even New America has updated their statistics and now shows deaths due to Muslim radicals ahead of their definition of “right-wingers” by a 2-1 margin.

The New America study that’s being used by liberals and the media to advance a false narrative is misleading in many ways:

1. New America stats don’t count attacks from self-radicalized or “lone wolf” terrorists.

2. It’s very questionable for New America to code every murderer who displays racist or anti-government views as “right-wing” terrorists.

3. They only count deaths, what about all the serious injuries? The Boston Marathon Bombing killed four but injured 264.

4. What about the over 40 terrorist plots since 9/11 that have been prevented? Isn’t that relevant when accessing the threat?

5. And finally, why would such a study begin in 2002 and ignore the 3,000 deaths caused on 9/11?

Making dishonest claims, and painting a distorted picture of terrorist threats, will not lead us to the safety from violent extremism that we all desire.

Peter Zeller is Director of Operations at Center of the American Experiment.

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