Culture Wars/Current Controversies

FBI Says TikTok Raises National Security Concerns

The Extremism Roundup

Promoting Civil Discourse and Marginalizing the Extremes
A weekly compilation of the most important developments in the struggle against radical ideologies

Islamist Extremism

Aws Mohammed Naser
Aws Mohammed Naser, 34 – Michigan Department of Corrections Facebook page
Michigan Man Charged With Supporting ISIS

  • Aws Mohammed Naser, formerly of Westland, Mich., was charged with attempting to provide personnel (including himself) and services to ISIS.
  • Naser is also being charged with being a felon in possession of a destructive device in October 2017.
  • Naser faces a maximum statutory penalty of up to 20 years in prison for the attempted material support charge and up to 15 years in prison for the possession charge. Read More

Muslim-American Lawyer Who Firebombed NYPD Vehicle Sentenced

  • Urooj Rahman, 33, a Muslim-American lawyer from New York who threw a Molotov cocktail into a police vehicle during the George Floyd protests in 2020, was sentenced to just 15 months in prison.
  • The Trump administration initially pursued a domestic terrorism sentencing enhancement against Rahman and her accomplice, which would have carried a maximum 10-year sentence. However, the Biden Justice Department dropped the domestic terrorism sentencing enhancement and requested Rahman and her accomplice serve between 18 to 24 months.
  • At trial, Rahman’s lawyer claimed she was inebriated at the time of the incident and that she was suffering from “early trauma” from being a Muslim in post-9/11 America. Read Now

CNN Producer Praises Hamas

  • CNN said it was cutting ties with freelance producer Idris Muktar Ibrahim after it was revealed he posted praise for Hamas terrorism and expressed support for “#TeamHitler.”
  • Ibrahim worked as a freelance producer and covered a range of international stories that included stories pertaining to Israel. Read Now

Alt-Right & Alt-Left Extremism

“Love One Another” sign hangs outside Harvard yard
“Love One Another” sign hangs outside Harvard yard – Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Neo-Nazis Harass People in Harvard Square

  • Members of the Nationalist Social Club, also known as the 131 Crew, threatened residents in Harvard Square on Sunday.
  • NSC-131 showed up in front of a Cambridge meeting house where the Boston Anarchist Bookfair was taking place.
  • Members of NSC-131 pounded on the doors and windows of the building and lunged at passersby on the street. Read More

Man Sentenced for Stabbing Proud Boys

  • Alexander Contompasis, 39, from Albany, was found guilty of stabbing two people at a “Stop the Steal” rally in Albany back on January 6, 2021.
  • The victims, self-identified members of the far-right Proud Boys group, survived.
  • Contompasis was found guilty of two counts of assault, two counts of attempted assault, criminal possession of a weapon, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Read More

Armed Antifa Activists Guard Transgender Storytime

  • A group of armed Black Bloc Antifa were standing guard outside of a bookstore in Denton, Texas, where a drag queen story hour was being held for children. Read More

Antisemitic Graffiti Found in Maryland

  • Antisemitic graffiti was found at the Bethesda Trolley Trail in Maryland on Monday, including stick figures hanging from gallows alongside the words “no mercy for Jews,” as well as neo-nazi markings, and a swastika. Read More

School Threats

Salem-Keizer middle school classroom after student violence
Photo of an overturned Salem-Keizer middle school classroom after student violence, April 2022 – KGW8 screenshot
Middle School Student Arrested for School Threats

  • A middle-school student who attends Salem-Keizer Public Schools, in Oregon, was arrested in connection to a recent threat made against two Salem schools on social media.
  • Detectives later confirmed the threats were not credible, and the safety of the schools was never in jeopardy. Read More

Schools Targeted by Shooting Hoaxes

  • The Summit County Sheriff’s Office reported that an active shooter at Coventry High School, in Akron, Ohio, turned out to be a “swatting” hoax.
  • Law enforcement agencies across Northern Ohio received similar calls regarding several other schools.
  • Several states across the country have received similar hoax calls. Read More

Hostile Foreign Influence Operations

Yanjun Xu
Yanjun Xu, YouTube screenshot
Chinese Intelligence Officer Sentenced for Espionage

  • Yanjun Xu, 42, is the first Chinese government intelligence officer ever to be extradited to the United States to stand trial.
  • Xu was sentenced to 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit economic espionage, conspiracy to commit trade secret theft, attempted economic espionage and attempted trade secret theft.
  • According to court documents, Xu targeted American aviation companies, recruited employees to travel to China, and solicited their proprietary information, all on behalf of the Chinese government. Read More

McCarthy to Remove Ilhan Omar & Two Others From Committee Posts

  • House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) reiterated his pledge to remove Democratic Reps. Eric Swalwell (Calif.), Adam Schiff (Calif.) and Ilhan Omar (Minn.) from their committee posts if he becomes Speaker in the next Congress.
  • McCarthy will remove Swalwell and Schiff from their posts on the House Intelligence Committee, accusing them of being compromised or biased.
  • McCarthy also said he would remove Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee, citing her past antisemitism. Read More

FBI Says TikTok Raises National Security Concerns

  • FBI Director Christopher Wray told a House Homeland Security Committee hearing that the bureau has “national security concerns” about the U.S. operations of TikTok.
  • TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. Chinese national security laws can compel foreign and domestic firms operating within the country to share their data with the government upon request.
  • TikTok has long said that it stores U.S. user data within the U.S. and does not comply with Chinese government content moderation requirements. But in July the company acknowledged that non-U.S. employees did in fact have access to U.S. user data. Read More

Research & Trends in Extremism

Hezbollah computer game
CFOTO/Future Publishing via Getty Images
Senate Report: FBI, DHS and Social Media Firms Not Adequately Addressing Domestic Extremism Threats

  • A report from the Senate Homeland Security Committee alleges the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and leading social media companies are not adequately addressing the growing threat of domestic terrorism.
  • The report says that the business models of four leading social media outlets — Meta, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube — are based on maximizing user engagement, growth and profits, which incentivizes increasingly extreme content. Read More

FBI Offers Reward for Info on Pregnancy Center Firebombers

  • The FBI is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the persons responsible for the arson of the CompassCare Pregnancy Services Center in Amherst, N.Y., in June 2022.
  • Jane’s Revenge, a group of pro-abortion activists, have taken credit for multiple acts of vandalism against pro-life organizations nationwide.
  • One of the individuals responsible for the arson spray-painted the words “Jane was here” on the building. Read More
QUOTABLE
“Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.”-George Washington, Thanksgiving Proclamation 1789

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