The Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism has reported a 50 percent increase in “arrests and plots linked to domestic Islamist extremism” in the United States in 2019, The Jerusalem Post reports.
Some 30 of those arrests were linked to domestic Islamist extremism, and nine were designated “terror plots.” The ADL reports that seven of the “terror plots” were the work of United States citizens.
According to the ADL, a portion of the 2019 plots targeted religious sites such as churches, synagogues and mosques, along with community centers.
“In the last several years, America has experienced an increase in targeted violence against our faith-based communities and organizations,” said Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf in December.
The ADL added that, “While there has been a significant uptick in white supremacist attacks targeting places of worship, including the Charleston church shooting, Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue shooting, and the Poway synagogue shooting, Islamist extremists have also targeted religious institutions.”
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has specialized in these types of attacks in the past. The most recent example occurred last year, when it claimed responsibility for the bomb attacks throughout Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday that killed 321 people, in what officials believe was retaliation for assaults on the mosques in New Zealand the month before.
The Christchurch attack, broadcast live on Facebook, saw a lone gunman armed with semi-automatic weapons target Muslims attending Friday prayers in Christchurch, New Zealand, on March 15, 2019. The shooting became New Zealand’s worst peace time mass shooting, killing 51 worshipers. That attack also consistently appeared to be a main motivator behind many of the thwarted US domestic terror plots.
Out of the nine terror plots, one of them planned to target the busy walkways of the National Harbor in Maryland. Another focused on the Israeli consulate in New York – as well as tourist attractions found throughout the greater New York area, such as the Statue of Liberty – and an additional plot was directed toward the White House. Separate plots focused on a church in Pittsburgh, a white supremacist rally in California and college campuses around Florida.