October 22, 2016 Posted by Daryl Johnson in Media Interviews

LIBERAL, [KS]--The revelation of an alleged domestic terrorism plot to kill Somali immigrants in southwest Kansas serves as a glaring illustration of what experts say is a growing concern. Across the country, they say, anti-government extremists are shifting their sights from federal agencies to Muslim people at an alarming rate. A new study by researchers at California State University-San Bernardino found that anti-Muslim hate crimes are at the highest level since the period immediately following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The study, which examined hate crimes in 21 states and the District of Columbia — 56 percent of the U.S. population — found that hate crimes against Muslims in 2015 jumped more than 86 percent over the previous year, from 114 to 213. The statistics don’t indicate how many of the hate crimes were committed by anti-government extremists, but experts say the number is significant. And Daryl Johnson, a former senior analyst with the Department of Homeland Security, said the political rhetoric has played a key role in the surge. “You have politicians talking about deporting Muslims and saying that the vetting process isn’t good enough,” he said. “So people start thinking that ISIS is around every corner.” While the militia movement has typically targeted the government as well as federal law enforcement agencies such as the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Johnson said, the Kansas case highlights how the movement has expanded its targets. “They justify targeting Muslims because they believe that Muslims are connected to ISIS and every mosque is an indoctrination center,” he said. “So they stereotype and broad-brush every Muslim as a threat and sympathizer with ISIS.” Fueling the anti-Muslim attitudes, Johnson said, are terrorist attacks such as those in Orlando, Fla., and San Bernardino. “It spins these people up, thinking that ‘there’s ISIS in my town,’ ” he said. “And the paranoia gets ratcheted up.” Because most militias are defense oriented, Johnson said, they’re preparing for the next ISIS attack. “So they’re going to start gearing up, they’re going to be locked and loaded to be ready to take out the ISIS terrorist and be a hero,” he said. “But now, instead of targeting government officials, they’re starting to go after innocent civilians.” View More>>

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