Homegrown Islamic Extremism on the Rise in United States

House report tracks 204 homegrown jihadist cases in America since 9/11

A member of the Iraqi forces walks past a mural bearing the logo of the Islamic State
Getty Images
April 7, 2017

The threat of homegrown Islamist extremism in the United States is on the rise, according to a new House Homeland Security Committee report.

Nearly 20 percent of the 204 homegrown jihadist incidents in the United States since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks have occurred over the past year, the committee found in its monthly Terror Threat Snapshot, citing data from the Majority Staff of the Homeland Security Committee.

Two Americans with suspected ties to the Islamic State were indicted last month on terrorism charges. Texas resident Said Azzam Mohamad Rahim was charged March 5 with six counts of making false statements to federal agents regarding his support for ISIS during a terrorist investigation.

Two days earlier, Long Island resident Elvis Redzepagic was detained for attempting to provide material support to ISIS. Redzepagic attempted to travel to Syria on two separate occasions to join either ISIS or the al-Nusra Front, an al Qaeda branch in the country.

Rep. Mike McCaul (R., Texas), who chairs the Homeland Security Committee, said in a statement Wednesday the United States "must remain clear-eyed about the threats" confronting the nation.

"One year after the heinous attack in Brussels, ISIS continues to leverage the power of lone-wolfs [sic] targeting the West—most recently at the heart of the British government," McCaul said, citing the ISIS-claimed terrorist attack in London that killed three people in March.

"We must intensify our efforts to deny these terrorists safe havens abroad, while more aggressively countering jihadist radicalization efforts here in the United States," he added.

The conservative Heritage Foundation, which maintains a timeline of terrorist plots in the United States, reported in March that there have been 94 Islamist-inspired terror plots and attacks against the homeland since 9/11. Homegrown terrorists were involved in 83 of those plots.

"The homegrown threat is the greatest threat we face from terrorism in the United States," David Inserra, a homeland security and cyber policy analyst, told the Washington Free Beacon in an interview. "More emphasis needs to be placed on state and local law enforcement communities. The FBI is overwhelmed by the number of people it's trying to watch who may have connections to terrorism."

Inserra said local policing plays a significant role in detecting homegrown terrorist plots.

An inspector general report released last week found that while domestic counterterrorism information sharing among federal, state, and local agencies has improved, collaboration needs to be strengthened. Inserra said improvement needs to stem primarily from federal agencies in terms of how they report information down to state and local authorities.

Published under: Terrorism