U.S. citizens responsible for vast majority of Islamist terror plots in the U.S.

· Eight of the 29 individuals were plotting attacks. These plots led to three attacks (the New York City vehicle ramming, the Port Authority attempted pipe bomb attack, and a Denver attack on a law enforcement officer), resulting in nine deaths and 16 injuries.

· Since 2014, the majority of plots have focused on “soft targets” – public locations without security – rather than symbolic targets. 

· The number of murders in the U.S. in 2017 motivated by Islamist extremism (nine) fell by approximately 82 percent from the 2016 total of 49 (all attributed to the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando).

· In 2017, 59 percent of domestic extremist-related killings in the U.S. were related to right-wing extremism; 26 percent were linked to Islamist extremism.

· Firearms remain the most common weapon of choice for extremists committing deadly acts in 2017.

“Violent extremism and radicalization is an American problem that is not limited to any one extremist movement or group,” said Oren Segal, director of ADL’s Center on Extremism. “The deadly attack on a crowded bike path in lower Manhattan last year and the nearly 100 plots and attacks inspired by extreme intolerance since 2002 serve as stark reminders of just one of the threats we are working to combat.”  

The report found that Islamist extremists in the U.S. are increasingly acting alone, rather than in groups. This is due, in part, to extremists’ growing use of the Internet, social media and encrypted messaging applications to access propaganda, bomb-making manuals, and other sources of inspiration or instruction.

Policy recommendations:

· Whole-of-society approach:  Violent extremists’ increased usage of encrypted technology over discoverable networks underscores the need for a holistic, community-first approach that leads with prevention.  This includes countering extremist propaganda online and on the ground, facilitating mental health support, and advocating for sensible gun control. 

· Federal Policy: The federal government has an essential leadership role to play in confronting terrorism, extremism, and acts of violence motivated by prejudice.  It cannot do so if it scapegoats Muslims, refugees, or new immigrants to the United States.  The President’s executive action to ban immigrants from majority Muslim countries and other federal agency actions that discriminate against and target communities of color and other marginalized communities are counterproductive to fighting extremism and building community trust.  

· Community Outreach:  The American Muslim community must be part of the solution; no effort can succeed until the Administration improves relations. The January 2018 DHS report wrongly suggested that the current immigration system allows terrorists to attack the U.S.; this approach must be changed.  It is imperative that policymakers at the federal, state, and local levels prioritize a community-first approach that will more strategically address the threat of Islamist extremism—and all forms of extremism.

· Encryption:  Federal law enforcement must invest in investigating and understanding new technologies, particularly encrypted platforms like Telegram, the messaging platform that groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda use to disseminate violent propaganda. 

State and local approaches: With a community-first strategy, non-federal entities such as non-profit organizations will be critical partners.  ADL works at the federal, state and local levels – with the federal government, Congress, and mayors and governors — to counter hate and extremism.  State and local officials nationwide want to address these issues, and must be encouraged and empowered to do so.