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#State Department says threat of terrorism from white supremacists ‘on the rise’

#State Department says threat of terrorism from white supremacists ‘on the rise’

June 25, 2020 | 10:41pm

The threat of racially and ethnically motivated terrorism from white supremacists is “on the rise and spreading geographically” across the country and world, according to a new State Department report.

The report, which is published annually with yearly country-by-country terrorism developments, outlined certain groups that are increasingly becoming the focus of hate crimes.

The “white supremacist and nativist movements and individuals increasingly target immigrants; Jewish, Muslim, and other religious minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or intersex (LGBTI) individuals; governments; and other perceived enemies,” according to the report, published by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Last year brought several high-profile profile attacks spurred by white supremacist ideology, including shooting at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March; the shooting in an El Paso, Texas, Walmart last summer and the gunman who opened fire in a synagogue in Halle, Germany, this past October.

Ambassador Nathan Sales, the State Department’s top counterterrorism official, said the threat of white supremacy has been “put at the top of the queue” of the Trump administration.

“It took this administration coming into power to really prioritize stepping up efforts against this threat here in the case of the FBI and DHS, but also abroad where this department comes into play,” Sales said during a news conference on the report Wednesday.

Sales pointed to the State Department’s move earlier this year to designate a white supremacist group based out of Russia as a terrorist organization, the first time sanctions were brought against a group around the ideology, he said.

The St. Petersburg-based group, the Russian Imperial Movement, has provided paramilitary training to white supremacists and neo-Nazis and has recruited individuals from Europe as well as the United States, according to Sales.

“We’re particularly concerned about white supremacist terrorism, and this administration is doing things that no previous administration has done to counter this threat,” he said.

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