Here’s why the U.S. needs to focus on right-wing, not Islamist, extremism

U.S. President Donald Trump was elected vowing to get tough on “radical Islamic terrorism.” He has tried to implement a travel ban barring people from six Muslim-majority nations from entering the U.S. and has tweeted frequently about Islamist terrorist attacks around the world. On Thursday, a new report claimed the president has his facts muddled.

A joint project by the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute, a nonprofit media center, and Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting has found that within the past nine years, right-wing extremists plotted or carried out nearly twice as many terrorist attacks as Islamist extremists. Of the 115 right-wing incidents, police only foiled 35 percent. Compare this to the 63 Islamist terrorism cases, where police foiled 76 percent of the planned attacks.

Right-wing extremists were not only more successful, they were often more deadly, too. From 2008 to 2016, a third of right-wing attacks involved fatalities, compared to 13 percent of Islamist attacks. It should be noted, however, that Islamist extremists killed more people overall, with a death toll of 90 people compared to 79.