SSN Commentary

White Nationalism and Militant Islamism are Transnational Terrorist Threats

Policy field

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University of California, Santa Barbara

Originally published as "White Nationalism and Militant Islamism are Transnational Terrorist Threats," Newsweek, September, 8 2021.

he twentieth anniversary of the devastating 9/11 attacks offers a somber opportunity to assess the current U.S. counterterrorism strategy in the decades since. Despite the Biden administration's acknowledgement that white nationalism is "the most lethal" national security threat to the United States, our counterterrorism framework still relies on an outdated post-9/11 worldview instead of adapting to address the 1/6 reality. The result is the continued criminalization of Muslims and people of color in the United States and around the world, as well as the lack of full accountability for white nationalist terrorism.

As I discuss in my book, Homegrown Hate, based on over a decade of research and direct interviews, the term "terrorism" still conjures images of a brown, bearded man when the insurrection has forced America to recognize that the faces of terrorists are also white. America's continued differentiation between domestic and international terrorism is neither helpful nor accurate and is now hindering our government's response to the Jan. 6 attack.